Facelift for RDU's Terminal 1 nearing completion

Posted February 5, 2014

— Construction crews responsible for the major facelift of Raleigh-Durham International Airport's Terminal 1 are on schedule to finish the remodel by March 2, airport officials said Wednesday. 

Work began in July 2012, but because the terminal did not need to be built from the ground up, it will cost about 90 percent less than the $570 million spent to build Terminal 2. RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer said Wednesday that the project is on budget at around $68 million.

The new terminal will be able to accommodate 3 million passengers a year through nine gates. Southwest Airlines will occupy five of the gates, and the remaining four will allow other airlines to add flights in years to come. The terminal will also offer expanded ticketing, security checkpoints and baggage claim areas and add shops, restaurants and other amenities for travelers. 

Sawyer said the old "blue box" familiar to Triangle travelers was in need of an upgrade. 

"Parts of Terminal 1 opened in 1955. We have taken one of the sections of the building and completely reinvented and modernized it," he said. "We're looking forward to bringing the world-class travel experience from Terminal 2 over here to Terminal 1."

One of the updates that gadget-savvy travelers will notice is the availability of power outlets in the gate areas. More outlets will allow travelers to connect and charge electronic devices.

Five new shops and six new restaurants will be in the terminal, including the first-ever ACC American Cafe, a restaurant with a sports theme.

"It's a high-end restaurant. They will have steak, seafood and American fare," Sawyer said. "There will be televisions looping classic games, there will be memorabilia. It's going to be a wonderful place."

The public will have a chance to preview the changes on Feb. 15 during an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sawyer said the airport will have more than 30 exhibits, food giveaways, drawings for tickets. Marbles Kids Museum will have a kid zone, and representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference will also be on hand.


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  • bddeals Feb 7, 2014

    My question is why did they choose to install a single level baggage carousel instead of the multi-level carousel that is in Terminal 2. The multi-level one is much better in my opinion.

  • unc70 Feb 5, 2014

    View quoted thread

    The original terminal 1 (still there hidden behind somewhat newer things ) reminds me of a small version of Idlewild circa 1955. (Now known as Kennedy airport).

  • Inside The Beltline Feb 5, 2014

    Old Terminal 1 is exactly what I think a greyhound bus terminal might be like, except with security.
    The old terminal makes LaGuardia feel luxurious.

  • Dr Sanchez Feb 5, 2014

    I used terminal 1 the other day because I had a flight on Southwest. It's just so awful. The worst is the old baggage claim carousel, which is so old and dingy, and I swear the floor is at an angle in that area from the SW baggage office to the far wall. It reminds me of a 1970s movie.

  • burnhace Feb 5, 2014

    There is no such thing as a high end restaurant with televisions. Someone has no clue. One of the worst aspects of air travel is the ubiquity of noisy obnoxious televisions. It is difficult to find a quiet spot to sit and read while waiting for a plane in most airports. RDU is no exception.

  • lec02572 Feb 5, 2014

    Hopefully, the building will be more than just new carpet and paint. That terminal was an embarrassment to Raleigh.

  • dmccall Feb 5, 2014

    Lipstick on a pig. Instead of tearing down Terminal C, they should have kept its gates and built a central ticketing/security/arrivals/departures building that connects out to isolated gates via people moves. This building should have been kept only as a pod of gates.

  • dwntwnboy2 Feb 5, 2014

    Great to see this finally happen! Worked out at RDU for a number of years and worked in both the old terminals before the new Terminal 2 was finished. They both needed the upgrades badly- kinda wish they had just leveled Terminal 1 with exception of the OLD original RDU from way back- the rest was just a metal box anyhow. Can't wait to see it in person!

  • Toddler10-21 Feb 5, 2014

    Whats wrong with a little exercise? If you are old you have wheelchairs. The people that are complaining will text minutes before the plane lands and say, "I will be out in a sec just let me pick up my bag and stop at starbucks!!

  • hapcanuck Feb 5, 2014

    Discount Gates for Discount carriers. This is a SW and Airtran terminal as they will not pay the gate fees and could not fit into TERM2. A few years ago i flew through TERM1 and I kept saying, if I was a business person looking to bring business in and saw the sad plight of Term1 baggage pickup, I would turn around and go else where. Grow Grow Grow